This report records part of a research programme on tourism benefits from sealing unsealed roads to address concerns raised that the Transit New Zealand project evaluation procedures may not fully account for benefits arising from improving roads in certain tourist areas. If roads in certain areas are improved by being sealed, the benefits from tourists who may decide to visit New Zealand more often, or stay longer, need to be recognised.
This report records the effects of improving the Waipoua Forest section of State Highway 12, Northland, New Zealand, using a 'before and after' study of the attitudes of tourists and other users. The study was carried out between 1993 and 1997. The responses from the before (1994) and after (1997) surveys have been analysed and compared to identify any changes which have taken place between the two surveys. These chages have then been examined to assess the degree of change, if any, which can be attributed to the sealing of Waipoua Forest road.
Completion of the road sealing has affected the attitudes and behaviour of tourists in regard to travelling through Waipoua Forest. Use of the Waipoua road has increased significantly following completion of the sealing programme, and local tourist operators have reported increased levels of tourist activity.
Keywords: attitudes, New Zealand, market research, perceptions, roads, sealing, tourism, unsealed roads, users, Waipoua